Can I sue a member of management for slandering my name at work?

UPDATED: Jan 23, 2012

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Can I sue a member of management for slandering my name at work?

My manager has been bad mouthing me to other employers, saying she is waiting on me to do one thing wrong so she can fire me.

Asked on January 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Defamation actually has a fairly narrow definition. It is only defamation if:

1) an untrue statement of fact is made

2) publically, which

3) damages your reputation.

"Publically" includes to coworkers...but the real hurdle is #1, whether the statement was an untrue statement of fact. The following are NOT defamation and you do not have any legal claim or cause of action:

a) An opinion, no matter how negative--so saying that you "are a bad worker" or "a creep" or "lazy" is not defamation, since those are all opinions, for example.

b) A true factual statement, no matter how negative--so saying that you have often been absent or late is not defamation, if its true that you have often been absent or late from work.

c) A statement of intent--it is not defamation to say that she is waiting for you to make a mistake so she can fire you; that is simply a description of her plans or intention, not defamation.

An example of defamation would be if she said you were often absent without permission, if that was not the case; or claiming you stole from work, when you did not; etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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